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Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
  • Lost in Suburbia: The case of the conniving canine

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  • It was obvious right from the start that our dog was a petty thief.
    In the beginning, his crimes were limited to dirty socks and underwear stolen straight out of the laundry basket. Although these would not be my choice of items to steal, I did understand the appeal for the dog. The items were sweaty, stiff, and stinky … a trifecta of doggie goodness. He would nab them when no one was looking and then create a stash under his dog bed so that if one stinky sock was discovered, there was another to chew on in its place. He was devious for sure, but he was not completely without merit. Like the Robin Hood of the canine world, he would steal the dirty laundry, and then, after they had been properly chewed, leave them for anyone else who might be in need of a dirty, slobbery sock.
    But what started out as a serious of misdemeanors, soon escalated. From socks he moved on to dish towels, hijacked right off the kitchen counter. Then used tissues, nicked from the wastepaper baskets. The evidence was there. There was no doubt it was the dog. He left a trail of drool with his name all over it.
    “Honey, have you seen my socks?” my husband would ask, pawing through his empty drawer.
    “Did you look under the dog bed?” I would respond.
    “Ugh. Why does he only take MY socks,” he’d wonder.
    “They must taste the best,” I guessed.
    I would have been concerned, but all dogs have issues, and compared to dogs that have squirrel obsessions and dog’s that eat slugs, stealing dirty socks and underwear seemed like a relatively benign problem.
    But then one day I went to retrieve a leather bracelet off my night table, and it was gone.
    At first, I thought I had misplaced it. Maybe took the bracelet off somewhere else in the house and left it there. I’m a creature of habit and an obsessive housekeeper to boot, so it was unlikely that this was the case, but I looked in all the obvious places, and some of the not so obvious ones, just to be sure. Curiously, as I conducted my search, the dog followed me from room to room. I thought he was keeping me company, but after a bit I noticed a shifty look in his eye and a hesitation in his gait. I wondered … was it possible? Could the dog be behind my missing bracelet? Had he stepped up his daytime sock thievery to nocturnal jewel heists?
    Was the dog … a cat burglar???
    I thought about calling in the CIA (Canine Intelligence Agency) to help solve this crime, but I was concerned that if the dog was indeed guilty, he might be sentenced to years of hard labor as a sled dog or sheep herder. Clearly he would be better off in rehab than prison. I was sure I could get him into a 12-step program if he was willing to admit he was powerless over socks.
    Page 2 of 2 - As I pondered the options, the dog walked into my room and dropped something on the floor. It was my bracelet. It was wet. It was drooly. But other than that, it was unscathed. He looked up at me repentant. Sensing his remorse, I walked over to the laundry basket and paused.
    “Here, Monty,” I said, calling him over.
    “It’s OK. You’re a good boy. You brought back Mommy’s bracelet.”
    And then I handed him my husband’s sock.
    Come share your story about the challenges of Motherhood at Tracy’s new blog, www.lostinsuburbiastories.com for a chance to win a free copy of her new book, “Lost in Suburbia: A Momoir.”
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